Andy Murray becomes global ambassador for WWF to help fight poaching and illegal wildlife trade

Tennis star Andy Murray has today become a global ambassador for WWF supporting the fight against poaching and illegal wildlife trade. The world number six seed will be helping to raise awareness and support an initiative in Nepal that trains dogs to track down poaching activity within and around Chitwan National Park.

Andy, who is well known for his love of dogs, will be raising vital funds throughout his tennis tour next year to support this crucial work in Nepal.

Nepal is home to magnificent species such as tigers and rhino - both of which are under threat due to poaching for the illegal trade in their parts. Nepal has long been a key transit route for some illegal wildlife products from India, destined for China, and whilst Nepal has dramatically reduced poaching in its own parks, vigilance against future poaching in Nepal must be maintained.

The sniffer dog progrmme will work alongside current activities in the country to tackle poaching and illegal wildlife trade. In honour of Andy's support a new puppy that will be part of the elite dog team will be named 'Murray'

Andy Murray said: "It's a shocking fact that rhino poaching in South Africa increased by over 7,700% between 2007 and 2013 and as few as 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild so anything we can do to deter poachers is a positive step in the right direction. I've followed WWF's work on the illegal wildlife trade for a while now and been looking for a way to support their work. I think it's incredibly important that this trade is prevented and the sniffer dog programme seemed like the perfect venture for me to get behind. I know from my own dogs how clever they can be and it's fascinating how these sniffer dogs communicate with their handlers. I'm also really looking forward to going to see Murray at work at some point in the near future."

Heather Sohl, Chief Species Advisor at WWF-UK, said: ​

"We're delighted that Andy has joined us in our work to fight the illegal wildlife trade. This serious, organised crime is threatening some of our most iconic species, so such support from a global personality to champion the issue and the much needed solutions is invaluable. Andy's support for the sniffer dog work in Nepal will complement existing efforts by WWF and our partners through dramatically improving investigations by enforcement teams."

As part of the global programme to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade WWF also promotes the use of other innovative approaches, such as managing patrolling using GPS and databases, using unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor, detect and deter poaching - along with the use of sniffer dogs.

Andy Murray with Border Force sniffer dogs Tyke & Marley. The British tennis player is supporting the training and work of 'Murray' the sniffer dog in Chitwan National Park in Nepal.

Andy Murray with confiscated wildlife items seized by the Border Force in the UK